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Poetry Exploration Tour

Poet-in-residence Will Burns invites you to take a tour with him to discover or re-discover OmVed Gardens poetically.

Take a moment to observe, reflect and listen at every stop. If you like, bring a pen and paper and follow Will's prompts below and have a go at writing poetry of your own.

Stop 1

The View at the Top

Find a view as near to the top of the garden as you can which looks down over the whole. Perhaps you can see over the boundary and over to the roofs of houses. Stand and take the whole vista in. Can you bring everything you see into a few lines of poetry? Birds, plants, the world outside the garden? How does it feel to be enclosed in a space here? Think about the emotions that enclosure might bring out…

Brick and slate patterned off into the distance, a valley of homely roofs,

the land climbing, tired, leggy, back up the hill towards the view.

Stop 2

The Path

Walk the path down from the top of the garden to the pond. Think about which senses are stimulated by the plants by your side. Can you smell the lavenders? Hear bees? See other insects? Think about the impact of colour here, and the lives of the plants and pollinators. Write a line or two about the path, about how it’s shape affects the way you experience the garden, about the creatures you encounter here…

A long meander of grass and dust, lavender and rosemary,

the path to elsewhere runs off down the hill and away.

Stop 3

The Glasshouse

Walk around the glasshouse and observe what you see. Is anyone working in the kitchen, are there artworks on display? How does any of the activity in the glasshouse interact with the environment outside? Does it conjure any thoughts? Write a few lines or work up some images based on how these ‘human’ cultural practises have come to be shaped by the garden itself, think about how you interact with the non-human world yourself every day…

Preparation is time played out as hope of more to come.

A pickle shares its present self with spent sunshine, old rain, a high season long-gone.

Stop 4 The Willow

Sit for a few minutes in the shade of the willow tree. How does the space affect you here? Can you feel a sudden change in temperature, or mood? What does the size of a tree like this mean to you? How many animals can you spot in or around the tree in the time you spend here. Write a few lines about the tree as a world of its own, with its own discreet weather, its own population of creatures, its own mood…

Something heavy in all this tree-talk, something cool.

Shades of meaning broached under the leaf-fall.

Stop 5 The Vegetable Garden

Take a walk around the vegetable garden. Have a good look at what’s growing. Are there any labels for the plants, giving their names? What do the sounds of those names make you feel? Can you find anything out about the species here? about their history or folk names, about the uses they have in food or medicine? Write a few lines about one or two of the plants. Perhaps you could use the idea of a spell or potion recipe as a starting point…

Where the seasons and their efforts bear their fruit,

where the harvest is always worth the aching back, the hard hands, the stoop.

Stop 6 The Ponds

Sit by the pond for a few minutes and listen hard. What sounds can you hear? Now think about how those sounds might translate into words. Don’t worry too much about meaning. Write a few lines that focus on the sounds around the pond…

Birdsong and water burble as spring-time strain,

another harmony line of abundance and its losses and its gains.

Make a list of as many different species of birds and animals as you can see and identify. Choose one or two and observe them closely. Do they seem to exhibit any characteristics that you notice? Do they appear angry? Playful? Mischievous? Think about what this process, known as personification, might mean. Should the non-human world come to us

in these human ideas? Or should we simply accept it on its own terms? Write a poem about how this might make you feel…

How to come to all this with a sense beyond names?

True meaning is formless here amongst a life lived beyond shame.


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